The Case Against Nada Prouty

Scott Pelley Investigates The Case Against The Former Terrorism Fighter; Was She A Patriot Or A Traitor?

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Hezbollah is the Lebanese group, backed by Iran and on the U.S. terrorism list. Prouty says she had little to do with Chahine. She thought he was a womanizer cheating on her sister. But because of the family ties, Prouty was under suspicion.

Asked what happened to her relationships with her colleagues and inside the agency, Prouty said, "Everybody scattered away. You would think that I had the plague. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with me."

That went on more than a year until, finally, in frustration, she went to Detroit to try to clear things up with the prosecutors.

"It wasn't until I sat face-to-face, until that was the time that I knew what I was being accused of," Prouty told Pelley. "And they said that I have viewed some documents in the FBI / ACS system without authorization."

"The FBI computer system?" Pelley asked. "What documents did they say that you had looked at?"

"They insinuated that it was documents relating to Hezbollah investigations," she replied.

Prouty says the prosecutors told her that the evidence against her was secret and she couldn't see the documents in question. But they implied that she had passed classified information.

"Look, the suggestion here, I mean reading between the lines, here, is that you looked for Chahine's name and your sister's name to see if the FBI was investigating," Pelley remarked.

"That's absolutely false and absurd," Prouty said.

She said she "absolutely" did not do that.

And, in fact, the investigation into whether she'd passed classified information turned up nothing. But prosecutors Eric Straus and Kenneth Chadwell kept digging and they stumbled on something that all those background investigations had missed or dismissed: it turned out that 18 years earlier, when she first came to the United States, Prouty had taken a fateful shortcut to citizenship.

She had arranged a sham marriage. "I understood it was wrong."

And she understood that was against the law.

In 1989, at age 19, Prouty, her sister and a girlfriend arranged bogus marriages to get their green cards and avoid going back to Lebanon, which was still at war. Eighteen years later, in 2007, prosecutors rounded them all up and charged them with conspiracy to defraud the United States.